Not getting an internship is like a breakup. You’re sad. You’re pissed. You’re a pain to be around. Then, after a while, you realize that the world will go on and there are many more attractive prospects to pursue. But in the thick of it, do you really want someone telling you it’ll get better? Didn’t think so. All I can tell you are some tips I learned when I didn’t get the internship of my dreams (without that preachy mom stuff).
Grab your phone and hit your best friend’s name
Literally, right now. Don’t even go to iMessage, this is too important. This is Facetime stuff. When I didn’t get a TV internship last summer, I went straight to the person who knows me best: My best friend, Ms. Lorra Burgess from Tacoma, Washington. In a quick four-hour chat, I remember she said, “You’re so much better. You totally deserved that. Who’s Disney anyways? Like ew. They are going to go under now that they didn’t hire you…”
While Mickey Mouse wasn’t going to file bankruptcy anytime soon, that phone call pulled the ice cream scooper out of my hand. The rejection letter from the great cartoon studio didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear, but Burgess’ response was about a thousand times more comforting.
Clutch That RemoteSo what if you’re on your parents’ couch for the summer? You are young, reckless and take things way too far like Taylor Swift— that’s why you are going to devour five seasons of that show. Make it constructive. In my binge watching, I re-learned how much I absolutely, positively want to write for TV when I’m a big grown-up who knows how to balance a checkbook (does anyone use checks anymore?).
Even though I flip-flopped between highbrow Emmy-winning shows and Keeping Up With the Kardashians, I discovered what kind of writer I want to be. I really did take something away from watching TV, even if it was just laughing at Kim K sometimes.
Maybe you’ll find out you want to write for TV too. Maybe you’ll learn a new recipe on the Food Network. Maybe you’ll want to emulate what the people in the show are doing (but if that’s the case, I suggest watching the Good Wife rather than Breaking Bad…). But either way, don’t beat yourself up about for staying on that couch for a while. It’s not your fault those jerks in suits broke your innocent heart.
Be One of “Those People” at Starbucks
Eventually, you do need to leave your living room. Take your MacBook, your $7 coffee and your pieces of broken pride and surf the web for new opportunities. Search that grad school you always kind of considered. Look up new fields you never even imagined, or find some volunteer work. Boston College junior Allison DoCanto said, “You know it’s not that bad you didn’t get an internship— at all. I have this friend who didn’t get an internship her sophomore year, but now she is a triple major getting her master’s in one year, not two. And it’s all because she found her calling in social work that one internship-less summer.”
Now that girl sounded like the next Hillary Clinton. I’m not saying all of us normal people have to be that amazing. But honestly, check out that Starbucks because sometimes a part-time barista job and a free frappuccino is enough for the time being.
Watch a Sunrise
Okay, maybe not actually, but this is where you realize there are better horizons in your future. This is not the only internship. There are plenty of chances in front of you.
Believe me, when it came time for me to see the sunrise, I didn’t want to see it. I had to email my boss at the Boston College Career Center, Kelly Alice Robinson, and ask what a student without an internship could do. Robinson said to take advantage of the free time to create your own opportunities. Learn a new program, a new language or even sharpen your social media skills. “Regardless of what you choose, the transferable skills one obtains in any of these situations are not lost on employers, and they enjoy seeing that a summer was spent being productive above all else,” Robinson said.
All I am saying is that even if this summer didn’t turn out the way you planned, you’re still young, hot and in college, but that won’t last forever. Why not create a safety net of experiences before you’re not so young and hip?